There's a lot going on in Austen's world, and I haven't written much about him in the past week, so I have some catching up to do. First, a recap of our two weeks with Jess and Mira. Overall, the experience was outstanding—about as good as you could hope for when your regular and beloved nanny goes on vacation. Al and I made a quick list of the pros and cons of the arrangement last night, and here's what we came up with:
Jess is a great nanny: calm, soothing, sweet, and sensible. Never had a moment's worry leaving Austen in her care.
Having to take Austen over to Mira's house in the morning and having him make a grand entrance via our garage at 5:45pm cut into my work time a bit, but it wasn't too bad. The extra walk in the morning was nice, and it meant I could stop at Trader Joe's on the way back if I needed anything.
Austen and Mira play together regularly—maybe a couple times a week—but they both seemed to love hanging out together all day, every day. Jess said they really played together, and they looked out for each other on the playground.
Ever since Annie died, I haven't been around cats much—which means my tolerance to cat dander went way down. Dropping Austen off at a house with two cats guaranteed me an asthma attack, itchy, swollen eyes, or both twice a day (he'd come home covered in cat hair).
This is one of Al's pros, since he's responsible for emptying the diaper pail—and it's something he had to do less often because Austen wasn't here for at least one or two diaper changes per day.
Hannah feeds Austen lunch 14 days out of 15 (once in a while I come down and fix something for all of us, or order a pizza), so it was a new thing to try to come up with a portable lunch for Austen every morning.
Another one from Al (he cleans up the kitchen at night, too). Because Austen and Hannah weren't here to eat and drink, there were fewer dishes to do.
|Paul and Tracy
Mira's parents are similar in age to me and Al, and they also have similar work routines (he works up on the third floor of their townhouse, as I do, and she walks to work, as Al does). They're also enthusiastic, super nice, and most importantly, totally behind the idea of sharing Jess (and their house) with us. The only strike against them is that they're Yankee fans. (Can you believe it???)
I suspect I'll get the same late start at work on Monday even though Hannah comes at 8am, since I'll want to hear about all her adventures in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Bali over the past two weeks, and she'll want to hear about all the new stuff Austen's doing. Which brings me to my next topic....
Where to start here? Maybe with Austen learning to open doors with knobs on Wednesday evening. Shortly after Jess dropped him off with me upstairs, Austen dashed into his room, slammed the door, and then after a few rattlings of the knob, opened it himself. He was so freaking proud of himself that he ran out to my desk and babbled something like, "let's do that again!" We played knock-and-open—with Austen doing the opening—until Al came home from work about 10 minutes later.
The next day when Jess dropped him off, she said, "did you know Austen can open doors?" Me: "Oh yeah, he learned that last night." Jess: "Oh, because he opened the front door at Mira's house today." He'd never done that before, and Jess didn't know it was a possibility, so it startled her. Luckily, she caught him before he (or one of the cats) could escape. I actually suspect he'd been practicing on the front door knob at Mira's house, which is an old, old townhouse. The knob on the front door is lower than on modern doors and easier for Austen to grab.
I'm thinking he's also learning by watching; he's really interested in what we're doing and how. He also surprised the heck out of me when we were watching Sesame Street last night: The segment where Ernie teaches Bert how to pat his head and rub his tummy while singing came on, and Ernie said, "can YOU pat your head and rub your tummy?" I thought, "oh, that must be for older kids." I was busy puzzling out what age group Ernie was talking to —3? 4?—when Austen started to pat his head. He turned and grinned at me with a look that said, "hey look! I'm doing it!" and then turned back to Ernie for further instructions. The kid's a total sponge.
Yesterday Austen started saying MoM, with an emphasis on the second M, as if to let me know that he knows that there are two Ms in Mom. Before yesterday he called me Ma (or, once in a while, Mama). He said MoM, MoM, MoM over and over last night. So charming.
Less charming was the off-and-on screaming at 12:40am and 5am, which is pretty unusual for him. We assume it's due to teething, because he's got teeth coming in all over the place. Four molars have come up in the past month, and it looks like a bunch more bottom teeth are coming in now. Anyway, because he didn't go back to sleep—or even want to snuggle—after the 5am crying jag, both Al and I were exhausted this morning. After Al took him downstairs at about 5:30, I slept until 7 and then got up for my walk. Instead of going out by myself, though, I took Austen so that Al could get some sleep.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be to take Austen with me; I finally got around to washing the Zooper seat, and that stroller works surprisingly well as a walking/jogging stroller when the front wheels are locked. Austen was pretty chilled out for most of the ride, too, which meant I still got my quiet time—except when I ran across Spring Garden Street, and he got addicted to the speed. After that I had to run a lot more than walk. :) Luckily, Starbucks wasn't far away, and I was able to distract him by stopping in for a Horizon Vanilla Milk box. After that, I was allowed to walk. And when he finished with his milk, I got my treat—he handed me the milk box and said, "thank you, Mama." Can you blame me for crying?
And finally, Al and I realized today that we're no longer having "you take him! no, YOU take him!" arguments on the weekends. Instead, we're arguing over who gets him. Austen is so much fun to be around now, and so self-sufficient, that we find that we can get things done *and* have family time (usually at the same time, though sometimes we just screw the chores and play, play play). Plus, with both of us working, and especially with Austen being at Mira's house during the day for the past two weeks, we really value the time we have together. I know I've told Austen several times in the past week how glad I am that Daddy talked me into having him.